67th Kendall Arnett Tournament

Colfax drops heartbreaker

By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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The team notorious for heartbreaking opening-game losses at the Kendall Arnett Tournament suffered another Monday. Trailing by double digits midway through the third quarter, the Colfax Falcons rallied only to watch their star guard’s fadeaway at the buzzer rattle off the back of the iron in a 48-47 loss to Nevada Union. Colfax lost its opening game at the tournament by four or fewer points for the fourth consecutive year. Del Oro edged the Falcons 66-64 last season, Folsom downed Colfax 76-72 in a 2006 opener and Granite Bay handed the Falcons a 59-58 defeat in 2005. Colfax has never won the tournament despite reaching the championship game three times, most recently in 1994. The Falcons, who trailed the Miners 38-27 with 3:56 left in the third quarter, also shot a season-worst 39 percent (9-for-23) from the free throw line against Nevada Union, which also edged the Falcons 55-53 in the season opener for both teams on Nov. 28. “They’re a good team,” Colfax head coach Ron Pucci said of Nevada Union (7-4). “They’re a Division I school, we’re D IV — not an excuse, it’s a fact. It would have been nice to get the win but our kids showed good character. We had a chance at the end.” The Falcons (6-5) trailed 42-33 early in the fourth quarter, inching closer on senior post Ethan Guiles’ three-point play with 4:36 remaining. Junior post Kyle Greer’s layup a minute later cut Nevada Union’s lead to 44-40. “You just do the little things, make sure you do things right,” said senior point guard Jeff Divine. “You’re already down by so much you don’t want to make it worse. You just want to play defense, make some stops.” The Miners led 48-43 with 1:24 left before Guiles made an easy layup. Divine stole the ball on Nevada Union’s next possession, driving the floor and tossing a no-look layup off the glass under pressure that fell to bring the Falcons within one with 50 seconds remaining. Greer rebounded a short 3-pointer by Miners senior guard John Wivholm and the Falcons took the ball over half court before calling their final timeout with 8.9 seconds left. “We don’t want to call timeout there,” Pucci said. “We had a scattered floor. Go to the basket and hopefully get fouled. If we’re in that situation again, we don’t want to call time. Just go to the hoop, see what happens.” Colfax devised a back screen play for Greer. Divine inbounded to Guiles, who passed to junior forward Joey Jergo at the top of the key. Divine got the ball back and was tangled up in the right corner, where he didn’t get a good look as time expired. “We had a back screen coming but we were all rushing to do things,” Divine said. “I just had to get up a shot. It didn’t feel good at all.” Said Pucci, “We had time to run it. It was there, we just fumbled the ball.” Guiles led the Falcons with 12 points, Divine had 11 and Justin Witt scored nine. Greer finished with seven. Senior guard Mark Kendall scored 14 to lead the Miners and Wivholm added 10 points in a game that featured 39 personal fouls.